By Maureen Panchen
MID-SUMMER AT MINTERNE
HYDRANGEAS, BIRDS, TREES & SOME HISTORY THROWN IN!
AUGUST ushers in the Hydrangeas at Minterne – with robust blue, white & pink squadrons lining the paths.
Of them all, my personal favourite has to be Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’ – a small deciduous shrub with ovate leaves which turn red in the autumn. Lace-cap flower heads with blue fertile flowers surround large pale blue sterile florets.
Soft lavender shadows stretch across Dorset’s quiet country lanes & in the garden the sounds of mid-summer abound when the breezes are picking up making the trees swoon with a deep watery rush.
Birdlife in the garden highways is quiet at this time of year. The birds are not feeling up to much – their annual moult makes them tired and lethargic (or so I’m told!) Birds often only return to our gardens when autumn frosts appear. Blue Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits, Robins, Kingfishers, Buzzers……….the list goes on. A spectacular range of different kinds of birds fill the gardens with birdsong and interest for birdwatchers.
If you’re a History fan, then you probably already know that August was a significant month. In August 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail on his first voyage with three ships, Santa Maria, Pinta & Niña from Palos de la Frontera, Spain for the Indies.
We can feel some degree of sympathy for Columbus when he wrote: “There are trees of a thousand sorts, and all have their several fruits. I feel the most unhappy man in the world not to know them, for I am well assured that they are all valuable. I bring home specimens of them and also of the land…”
At Minterne, the vast variety of trees here tower over the landscape. Picea brewiana brewers spruce, Sequoiadendron giganteum (giant redwood), sequoia semperviens (coast redwood), Fagus sylvatica (beech) are among some of the Giants that give Minterne Gardens the cover, wind protection and shade the land, needed to grow all the other plants beneath them. As you explore the gardens don’t forget to look up!
Do you have any photographs of Minterne is summer? If so, there is still time to enter our FACEBOOK photographic competition and win family season tickets that allow free access to the gardens throughout 2018!
Henni’s Sweet Treats will be serving Light Lunches & Cream Teas on the East Terrace overlooking the lake during the summer and we currently have a special offer with entry to the garden, tea, coffee with cream tea or light lunch all for just £10 – a real bargain!
Gardens open daily 10am – 6pm, Entrance £5 (Season tickets available here). On the A352 Dorchester to Sherborne road.
Gardens Open Daily
10am – 6pm * 11th February to 9th November * Admission Price £5.00 (Children under 12 Free)
Season Tickets Available Here
Dogs welcome on leads * Parking is FREE for visitors in the car park opposite St Andrews Church * Minterne currently offers a selection of cream teas (weather permitting - please phone ahead to confirm) * Please note: Unfortunately, Minterne Gardens feature many uneven surfaces and are therefore NOT SUITABLE for wheelchairs * Minterne House itself is a private residence and therefore not open to the public without prior consent.